Saturday, May 25, 2013

Michael Jackson on The Dating Game in 1972?!?

In the 1970s The Dating Game would book celebrities and pop stars for their bachelors and bachelorettes, after all they looked good on TV and could deliver a media savvy performance. Did they actually go out on the dates? Who knows.

Believe it or don't, 13-year old Michael Jackson was a contestant on a 'very special' 1972 episode of The Dating Game. This was when he first attempted to escape his sick family with a top ten solo album, singing sweet chart-toppers like 'Ben' and 'Rockin' Robin' - years before he turned weird and white.

Just think if The Dating Game had set Michael up with 3 boys his own age he might have had the first appropriate relationship of his life.



BONUS: The Dating Game in '73 - won't the bachelorettes be pumped up to accompany Arnold Schwarzenegger on that romantic trip to Tijuana, Mexico?

On the Road with an Eccentric Tiny Tim

While composing an oral history a couple of years ago I talked with musical director Tim Fowlar, he reminisced about his time in the 1970s with the Roy Radin Vaudeville Review... or as Tiny Tim called it, "the cavalcade of has-beens."

Roy Radin was a notorious promoter (and soon to be the victim in the notorious Cotton Club Murder) who cobbled together stars like Milton Berle, Donald O'Connor, The Drifters, Frank Fontaine (aka Crazy Guggenheim, who had a heart attack on the bus), Ronnie Spector, and Georgie Jessel, then poured their drunken carcasses on to a bus for shows in VFW halls and school auditoriums all over the northeast. It was a grueling pace but it gave folks in the hinterlands an opportunity to see the stars they loved.

Tim was just getting started in the business when he joined the Radin cavalcade and he would go on to great heights in Las Vegas and television. Here he tells us about being on the road with Jackie Vernon and Tiny Tim, two rather eccentric performers. Vernon is best known to modern audiences as the voice of Frosty the Snowman in the first TV holiday special. Tiny Tim... I wouldn't know where to start, but he was weird bird with a hang-up about venereal disease... and crossing the street. He was also a musical genius I invite you to explore.



The late, great Tiny Tim:

40 Years Ago Comic Book Collecting Changed Forever With the First Big Action Comics # 1 Sale

I think I'm going to play the lottery today, my odds of winning have to be infinitely greater than finding a copy of Action Comics #1 stuffed in the wall. But that's just what happened to David Gonzalez who discovered the 10 cent gem was serving as part of his newly purchased fixer-upper's insulation.

As you may know, this is the most valuable comic book on earth, the very first appearance of Superman. Unfortunately Gonzalez' aunt-in-law grabbed at the comic, causing what an auction expert called a "$75,000 tear." The book was already in poor condition, now a 1.5 out of 10, but is still expected to bring in over $110,000. The guy only paid $10,000 for the house!

comic collector Back in May of 1973, 18-year old Mitchell Mehdy made national news when he bought Action Comics # 1 for a little over $1,800. He was the laughing stock of the nation, what kind of idiot would pay that much money for a comic book?!? He was joke fodder for morning radio jocks and late night TV shows (Carson made a crack about him). The generation that lived through the tough times of 1938, when that comic was published, were not amused that a teenager had that kind of cash to spend on something so frivolous.

But seeing this item in the newspapers sparked families into searching their attics in hopes of turning up unexpected gold; many did. Suddenly the neighborhood kids who were amassing comic book collections didn't seem so dumb after all.

The publicity that followed was swift and pervasive, Mehdy even made it on 'Tomorrow' with Tom Snyder. That summer the New York Comic Art Convention run by Phil Seuling really took off in popularity.

So here's to Mitchell Mehdy, he brought respectability to comic book collecting by monetizing the hobby. For better or worse, it would never again be the same.

40 Years Ago NYC TVs Tuned to Toddler's Birthday Parties in the Mornings

Birthday House

Paul Tripp / Birthday House It might be hard to believe but forty years ago New Yorkers tuned in every morning to watch children's birthday parties complete with sing-a-longs, animals and staring into a tropical fish tank. For the 1960s, this was big city daytime TV at it's finest - and it was surprisingly entertaining.

 Birthday House starred Paul Tripp, TV's first child educator. As the producer and star of the critically celebrated Mr. I. Magination program on the CBS network from 1949 until 1952, he influenced and predated Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and every children's program that followed.

Birthday House aired live on WNBC 4 Monday through Saturday mornings from April 1, 1963 until September 8, 1967; it was nationally syndicated for a while and two best-selling soundtrack albums were released with songs from the show.

Similar in tone to Romper Room, the broadcast was a smash hit with kids and parents alike thanks to the exemploray talents of Tripp and his spouse, co-host Ruth Enders Tripp. A creative team since the pioneer days of television, they were masters of the intimate, seat-of-your-pants nature of live broadcasting.



Each day one, two or three lucky youngsters were selected from the New York / New Jersey viewing area to attend a birthday celebration with their friends on television. The WNBC studio could only accommodate a dozen or so children at a time, naturally tickets were highly coveted.

Paul Tripp Tom Tichenor designed, manipulated and voiced the many cheerful puppet characters and portrayed Strawtop the silent scarecrow doll; Jan Lara and Kay Lande also appeared in character roles. In 1964, WNBC Channel 4 received a special citation for Birthday House at the NYC Emmy Awards.

The underlying focus of Birthday House was on learning, however simple the lesson. This was accomplished with segments like Buzzy the spelling bee, kids drawing together at a chalk board and a milk drinking game to encourage good nutrition.

In this found episode, Paul and his puppet pal Felicia the mouse play around with a couple of gerbils before Paul strolls to a fish tank where he ad-libs as the camera lingers on the exotic fish swimming about.



This is representative of what the NBC flagship station offered for the morning hours in the nation's number one television market, part of a steady diet of quality kidvid available around the dial - all day long - with top talent that included Chuck McCann, Sandy Becker, Officer Joe Bolton and a legion of other versatile performers who instilled in their viewers a sense of fair play, virtue and a love for education.

We've gone from watching children at play on TV to performing DNA tests to determine who the kid belongs to.

Cast Discusses Weird Death of TV's Superman


In 1976 Tom Snyder interviewed the cast of The Adventures of Superman, this was in conjunction with Gary Grossman's fantastic book on the series, 'Superman Serial to Cereal' - in my mind one of the best ever written about any TV show. Gary is seen here with Noel Neill, Robert Shayne and Jack Larson as they discuss the Superman production and the weird circumstances surrounding the death of George Reeves.

I met Noel Neill in 2004, I was appearing at the Hollywood Celebrity Show in Burbank. On Sunday morning, as everyone was setting up, I visited her table to give her a copy of my book, 'TVparty! Television's Untold Tales'. There was an essay about George Reeves, when I showed it to her she sighed and said wistfully, "Oh, George..." She was so sweet, and signed a photo for me. Classy lady. She was the only thing I liked about 'Superman Returns'.

If You're a Furry, Best TV Ad Ever! (If Not - Worst. Commercial. Ever.)

Is this the worst TV ad of all time? It's certainly a contender, truly icky. But then, I've never been a furry fan. This Gravy Train spot encapsulated all that was wrong about TV pitches of the 1970s - tired premise, shoddy production values and condescending to women. Don't miss how grotesque the 'husband' looks at the end. Where's the PETA when you need them?!?

Dom Deluise' Funniest Joke I Ever Heard!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Whatever Happened to Stymie from The Little Rascals?

TV Blog / Stymie Beard / Little RascalsI've been watching The Our Gang / Little Rascals Complete Collection and it is so much fun. I'd almost forgotten how funny those short Hal Roach comedies were, especially the early ones with Matthew 'Stymie' Beard, baby Spanky McFarland, Dickie Moore and Scotty Beckett, all amazingly unpretentious young actors.



A Los Angeles native, Matthew Beard was the highest paid Rascal and with good reason. There wasn't anything forced or false about his performances, he was adorably enthusiastic. The camera loved him, so did film audiences and his peers. Stan Laurel, one of the child actor's comedy influences, gave Stymie the bowler hat he wore in the series out of admiration for his work.



After 5 years and 36 shorts subjects, Matthew 'Stymie' Beard was retired from the Little Rascals in 1935 at age 10. Before the next decade was over he had developed a heroin addiction. Prison time followed for dealing, as a result the 1950s and 1960s were a wash for him professionally. When 'The Little Rascals' films were sold to TV syndication, he looked on from the sidelines in disgust as others got enormously wealthy off of his past performances.

A story about his recovery from drugs went over the AP in 1973, helping Stymie achieve his "secret ambition" of performing again. He was hired as a supporting player on Hawkins,  Sanford & Son, Starsky & Hutch, Maude, and Good Times along with some small film roles and other TV productions.

Here's Stymie in the Sanford & Son episode 'A Little Extra Security,' he appeared 3 times on that show, twice on Maude, and 5 times on Good Times where he was seen as Monty. Stymie as Otis enters with Grady at 9:37. He was just as engaging and naturally funny as ever, though he was pushing a bit too hard. He might have had an illustrious television career if he had been given the opportunity to work more often and regain his confidence.



In January, 1981, Stymie suffered a stroke; he lay for 2 days unconscious on his apartment floor before being discovered. He died a few days later at age 57. Redd Foxx stated, "It's a shame that Stymie and so many people like him could be in show business all their lives and be basically unknown. He never made any money to speak of in the 'Our Gang' comedies even though people are enjoying them 50 years later and will continue to forever."



Norman Lear, who produced many of the sitcoms Matthew Beard appeared on, tried to revive 'The Little Rascals' in the mid-1970s with Gary Coleman playing Stymie. Four pilots were reportedly filmed, we can be thankful that never got off the ground.

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When Icons Show Up to Work Drunk

Orson Welles was a mammoth talent that never really flourished under the Hollywood structure of his era. He was forced to whore himself out for commercials, he spent decades hawking food and drink, both of which he consumed copious amounts of. Maybe that's why he made such a trusted spokesperson.

 It wasn't uncommon for the great director to show up for a session high on spirits and drunk on his own ego. Like this session from the golden age of radio where Welles tried to improve the script he'd been asked to read for a frozen peas commercial. He was notoriously prickly, impossibly eriudite when he was irritated, insulting the sponsor of his program and lambasting the guys in the booth.

 

 Thirty years later, Orson was off-the-charts drunk taping this spot for Paul Masson Wine ("We will serve no wine until its time"). Did they resort to a sound-alike for the finished spot?

 

 That was nothing compared to Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain. He sold the company in 1964 but still fronted their commercials until he died in 1980. In the seventies he would wander inebriated into a KFC in his neighborhood causing a scene, dressing down the employees because they weren't making the chicken correctly. And there was little they could do when the Colonel showed up for his commercial tapings a bit 'extra crispy'.

 

Star of a Classic Saturday Morning TV Show Passes

Kevin Butler writes: Virginia Gibson, the co-host/performer/interviewer and narrator of ABC TV's and Jules Power's/Danny Wilson's highly acclaimed, award-winning children's news magazine and travelogue "Discovery" passed away on Thursday April 25, 2013 in Newton, Pa. She was 88 years old. 

Born in St. Louis, Mo., Virginia Gibson made her Broadway debut in the stage revival of Rodgers and Hart's "A Conneticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court" (1943). She also appeared in "Laughing Room Only" with Olsen & Johnson, "High Button Shoes" with Phil Silvers, and "Along Fifth Ave". 

Ms. Gibson made her film debut in 1950 at Warner Bros. where she appeared with Doris Day in "Tea For Two" and with Joan Crawford in the dramatic movie "Goodbye My Fancy". She was also seen in "Painting The Clouds with Sunshine". Virginia Gibson worked in two movie musicals for two different studios - "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" with Howard Keel and Russ Tamblyn at MGM in 1954 and, in 1957, she was at Fox Studios appearing in "Funny Face" with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. 

In 1955, Ms. Gibson made her TV debut in the forgotten sitcom "This Is Hollywood" with Mitzi Green and Gordon Jones. She also appeared on "The Johnny Carson Show". 

In 1962 Ms. Gibson joined forces with Frank Buxton to star in "Discovery," a weekday afternoon educational kids TV series on ABC. Most of the segments were filmed at NYC's Ritz Theater and others were done on location.

   

The show moved to Saturday mornings, eventually the studio segments were dropped and "Discovery" was filmed on location for the rest of the run. When Mr. Buxton left in 1966 Gibson co-hosted the series with Bill Owen. The series moved to a Sunday morning timeslot in 1968.

   

"Discovery" went off the air in 1971, Virginia Gibson left TV altogether for other venues. I was lucky enough to do a phone interview with her in the 1990's and she was kind enough to share information about her career in kid's TV with a young writer and researcher.

 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

'All in the Family' Cast Re-creates Their Theme Song for Modern Day Values

This clip was never broadcast, only the folks at the taping that night got to see this. The cast of All In The Family, in response to the 1975 'family hour' rule that forced the series to move to another night and a later hour, performed their signature theme song with pointed new lyrics that would never have met the stricter broadcast standards of the time. They were exaggerating about how depraved TV had become in 1975 but the tune could have easily been written about today's broadcast television...

One of the Funniest Stand Up Routines Ever

Jim Longworth writes: I was watching Cinemax earlier today, and suddenly there appeared an animated short, titled Eli's Dirty Jokes, with a "created by" credit going to James and Tyler McFadden. The entire short was a word for word rip off of the late Flip Wilson's 'woman with ugly baby' routine. If the McFaddens don't have permission from Flip's estate, then they should be sued. Even if they did have permission, the credit for "created by" is misleading. Have you seen it?"

No I haven't, but here's Flip's classic ugly baby routine, considered one of the funniest bits of standup ever...

Shocking 1950s Commercial!

This oldie but goodie from the TVparty vault deserves a crack at the title of worst TV commercial ever. If you haven't seen this 1950's cold cream ad, you simply won't believe what they do to this model's face... this video has almost 3 million views on You Tube!

Three of the Greatest Comic Book Artists of the 20th Century

Watch this WFMY news segment by Brad Jones covering attendees at a comic book convention in Greensboro back in 1990. Interviewed briefly are legendary EC Comics artists Al Williamson and George Evans along with the late Dave Stevens. Williamson especially was a fave of mine growing up. All of these titanic talents have left this mortal coil for adventures in other worlds.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kid with a Gun on Romper Room!

Watch this Romper Room teacher from New York in 1977 react in horror at the idea of kindergarten aged kids with firearms, something we're told is common today. Future little wise guy, no doubt.

 

1960s Version of 5 Hour Energy Drinks

Around 1968 there was this new snack called Space Food Sticks, packaged like a Slim Jim with a texture like sturdier peanut butter, they purported to be like the stuff astronauts ate in outer space. (There was even a knock-off, Space Energy Sticks.) It wasn't candy exactly, I remember it had a slightly yucky taste, but we still gobbled up the junk for whatever reason. They didn't last long in the stores but here's the commercial that hooked us.



Did you love Space Food Sticks and want to taste them again? You can order them at spacefoodsticks.com.

Tragic Death of Our Gang's Alfalfa


Teresa Bain writes: "My mother, who now lives in Brandon, FL., was Alfalfa's cousin. She told me how Alfalfa died. This is the story, according to the family... someone OWED money to Alfalfa and he went to get it. Alfalfa was drunk at the time. Alfalfa confronted the guy and the guy pulled out a gun. Alfalfa only had a knife. According to the family, Alfalfa was shot over a debt of only $50.00. My mother told me she hated Alfalfa because he was so mean to her."

That's close to what happened, the official story at the time. Decades later a witness came forward and established that Alfalfa was murdered in cold blood.

Here's the part of the story that no one disputes - M.S. (Bud) Stiltz shot Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer to death in the Mission Hills home of famous cowboy star "Crash" Corrigan's ex-wife. Stiltz claimed self-defense, that Alfalfa threatened him with a knife, he wanted $50 for a hunting dog Stiltz borrowed and lost. What really happened that night remained clouded in mystery - until an unexpected witness came forward recently.

Tom Corrigan, son of cowboy star Ray "Crash" Corrigan, was only 14 years old on January 21, 1959 when the deadly confrontation between his step-father and Carl Switzer broke out. Tom was friends with Carl Switzer, they had known each other for years. He spoke to the press about the case in 2000.

Corrigan's story differs greatly from Stiltz' self-serving alibi. In his story to the press, Corrigan says it looked like murder to him, "He didn't have to kill him." True, Alfalfa was drunk when his mother Rita Corrigan opened the door, but Stiltz was waving a .38-caliber revolver when entered the living room - during a struggle, the gun went off and Tom was grazed by a plaster fragment or bullet. The fighting stopped when everyone realized the kid was hurt.

Young Tom Corrigan stepped outside as things got quiet. He didn't see the exact moment of impact but heard the unexpected shot, turning in time to witness Alfie with a shocked look, his face sliding down the wall. It was then that Corrigan saw the small penknife, which apparently fell closed from Switzer's pocket.

Only by begging for his life was Alfie's companion, 37 year old bit player Jack Piott not killed also (he had cracked a glass dome over Stiltz's head in the initial struggle).

A statement detailing these events was taken from the teenager, though fearful of his abusive stepfather, the youngster agreed to testify but he was never called. Stiltz was exonerated.

The kicker to Tom's story: every Christmas (until his 1984 death) Bud Stiltz received a holiday card signed "Alfie". You can read here all about the mystery surrounding the death of Alfalfa.

Ugliest Girl in Town

In 1968, 'gimmick' shows were hot... think Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Batman. Most of the out-there shows like Mr. Terrific and The New People never caught on. But the networks reasoned that the masses wanted mindless entertainment and, by God, they were going to get it. That's how The Ugliest Girl in Town made it to ABC's fall line-up, a series where the main character was running around in really bad drag.



You see, Timothy Blair (Peter Kastner) had a photographer brother named Gene (played by Garry Marshall, creator of Lavern & Shirley and regular on Murphy Brown). Gene lost some important photo shoot pics so he dressed Timothy up in Hippie chick garb and submitted those shots to his London publisher who think they've found the next 'Twiggy'... so 'Timmie' becomes the newest hot fashion model. As a girl, of course.

This works out great for Timothy, he gets to fly back and forth to London where his girlfriend Julie Renfield (Patricia Brake) lives and prance around go-go London in all the latest mod fashions. Today this show wouldn't seem so extreme, but in the uptight sixties this kind of thing was an anathema, not something middle America was about to turn on for fear of catching Teh Gay.



TVparty-er Laura writes: "A couple of episodes that stand out in my mind are one where s/he was ordered to pose as a nude model (he covered up his lack of feminine allure by posing in a bubble bath) and one where he had to sing in falsetto, but because he couldn't sing in key, a male janitor sang for him. The clothes were at their silliest Austin Powers-ish best. Very 60's airline stewardess-style clothing, puffy hats, go-go boots, big round sunglasses."


Linda Gillies alerts us to an inflamatory obituary of Peter Kastner, The Toronto Star obit states:

But after starring in a disastrous ABC sitcom, The Ugliest Girl in Town, in which he played a young man disguised as a young woman, his career tanked, and his life story turned into a bizarre twist on Sunset Boulevard, with Kastner turning into an updated Canadian male incarnation of Norma Desmond, the deluded former star of silent movies. After moving back to Toronto from the U.S. a few years ago, Kastner played coffee houses (including Free Times Café) and comedy clubs (including Yuk Yuks) with a one-man show. He not only milked the irony of his own career crash but attacked his mother, the late Rose Kastner, resulting in a bitter estrangement from his three siblings and other members of the family.

It goes on to quote family members about how troubled the actor was.

But Kastner's wife is crying fowl and tells another story. She states in part, "After he left acting he became a high school English teacher. He became a maker of quirky and interesting videos on a wide range of subjects. He mentored many teenagers, helped raise his step-daughter and was the constant delight of his grandchildren.

"Not only is the article inaccurate on a factual basis, it is also a gross misrepresentation of Peter's life after he left acting. The Peter I knew was actively engaged in the world, through his video work, his songwriting, his political activism and his many friendships. It would have been nice if Knelman had mentioned his first wife Wendy Miller, who also mourns him. The incomplete view presented by Knelman fails to capture the sweetness and soul of the good man who died in his parked car on September 18th, 2008."

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The NBC Big Show

Tallulah BankheadMore from the TVparty! Blog archives: For one brief, shining moment a radio program became a hit in the era of television, a time when nearly everyone reasoned (rightly) that radio was finished as the predominant form of home entertainment .

It was 1950 and the NBC program was called The Big Show, a star-studded 90 minutes that attracted the biggest names in the entertainment industry and beyond. The star attraction was the outrageous hostess, a most unusual pick for a master of ceremonies, stage and screen actress (and the ultimate diva) Tallulah Bankhead. Known for her catty ways and pert put-downs, the writers created some absolutely hilarious exchanges between Tallulah and her female guests.

The program aired Sunday nights at 6:00pm but despite the network putting everything it had behind the program in an attempt to salvage the once dominant medium, The Big Show reportedly lost a million dollars (real money in the fifties) and was cancelled after a couple of years. It was then moved unsuccessfully over to television as the All-Star Revue with Tallulah as one of the rotating hosts. But then, a lot of radio hits fizzled on the small screen.

Here's an episode of The Big Show from December of 1950 with guests Fred Allen, Margaret Truman, Joan Davis, Phil Silvers, The Sons of The Pioneers and more. The highlight of every episode was Tallulah's madcap putdowns and acid tongued bouts with the guests. (I edited out a boring 13 minute dramatic presentation with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.)
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Jerry Reed

5 years ago this summer Jerry Reed passed away from complications due to emphysema. He was 71. Reed was a great talent who had a short burst of hit songs in the early-1970s that were outasite, songs like 'Amos Moses,' 'She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft),' and 'When 'You're Hot You're Hot.' He was even animated on an episode of The New Scooby Doo Movies and hosted his own summer replacement variety show. Then he shot to movie stardom as the Snowman in Smokey & the Bandit and his biggest hit tune (I'm guessing) 'East Bound and Down.' He later went on to co-star in two short-lived primetime dramas, Nashville 99 in 1977 and Concrete Cowboys in 1981.
Here's Jerry with Chet Atkins with 'I'll Say She Does' on The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour from 1972.



From a 1983 concert, 'When You're Hot You're Hot' - Jerry talks about being on Glen Campbell's variety program.



Finally, Jerry with Glen Campbell on Tom Jones' show doing 'In the Pines' and 'Muddy Water.'

Marion Williams singing 'Packin' Up'

I love all kinds of music and one of my favorite Gospel singers is the incredible Marion Williams who can be found in top form on the Hootenanny DVD set, one of the best music collections anywhere. See for yourself as Ms. Williams sings 'Packin' Up', the announcer is the late Jack Linkletter:



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TV FORMULAS


A few years ago I did a show for VH1 called 'Super Secret TV Formulas' where we looked at different TV cliches. The show runner gave me a list of subjects and asked if I could come up with some not so obvious examples. I thought you might enjoy my notes back to the producer. I'll bet I missed a few that will come to your mind right away.

The first subject was: Flashback Episodes: 
The first ever was the I love Lucy Christmas episode - here's the story and a clip.
The flashback was the key to Kung Fu and the most interesting part.
Dark Shadows jumped from past to present for months at a time.
Dick Van Dyke Show had flashbacks to Rob's Army days.
Green Acres did it a lot.
Frazier and Niles flash back to their days as kids.
Star Trek did it to use footage from the pilot and save money.
'Who Killed JR' on Dallas was a mess of flashbacks.

Drag for a Day: 
Milton Berle probably was first, since he was there at the beginning of TV.
Steve Eurkel played his cousin Myrtle
Lucy did male drag as Superman.
There was a notorious flop - The Ugliest Girl in Town (1968 - ABC) - would be a great example but I have no idea if the series exists anymore.
Max Baer (Beverly Hillbillies) was both Jethro and his sister Jethrine in the first season.
Jonathan Winters did an old lady character, Maude Frickert, that was hilarious; he did the character on practically every variety show.
Barney on the Andy Griffith Show - there is a famous and readily available
still picture of Barney in Drag.
Johnny Carson
Benny Hill
The Robot from Lost in Space put on women's clothes once for a play.
Harvey Korman on Carol Burnett did a very funny fairy Godmother.
Jamie Foxx on In Living Color as Wanda
John Belushi as Liz Taylor on SNL
Will Farrell as Janet Reno on SNL
Dana Carvey as Church Lady on SNL.

Let's Get it On, Already: Aaah, sexual tension... 
Starsky and Hutch - They were always touching and saying "I love you, man."
Serena and Larry Tate on Bewitched.
Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.
Gilligan and all the women on the island.
LaVern, Shirley, Lenny and Sqiggy.
Mr. Ed and Wilbur.
Hunter? Remington Steele?
Smithers and Mr Burns from Simpsons.
Fresh Prince - Will and his cousin.
Dean Martin and his Golddiggers.
Mork and Mindy.
Vivian and Lucy on The Lucy Show - CBS execs called it 'The Dykes Sans Dick Show.'
Jethro and Miss Hathaway.

All useless knowledge comes in handy one day, I suppose.

Hilariously Dirty Hollywood Squares Outtakes!

For some reason, when I think of summer I think of The Hollywood Squares. I guess that's when I had the opportunity to watch the daytime show growing up. Here are some uncensored outtakes from that star-studded game show.

The First (Awful) Lost In Space Revival

In 1973 Lost In Space was re-imagined by Hanna-Barbera as an animated pilot for a possible Saturday Morning series, it was broadcast on ABC's Saturday Superstar Movie. Jonathan Harris provided the voice of Dr. Smith, the only original cast member to be involved and the only recognizable character other that the 'robon' which looks kinda-sorta similar to the Robinson's pet robot. Why adapt a much loved TV series and eliminate almost every element of the original that made it so popular in the first place? Since 20th Century Fox and Irwin Allen owned the property they could have created likenesses of the rest of the cast without paying them (as they almost did with Uhura in the animated Star Trek) but why redesign the iconic space ship? It was a sloppy poorly produced effort that deserved to be passed over, with no redeeming qualities other than a few decent Jonathan Harris moments.

 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lost Cher Recordings

Someone has posted (audio only) some TV performances by Cher and pointed out this odd fact - Cher sang the same song on the last (taped) episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour that she did on the debut of her own series. The tune is 'All in Love is Fair,' a Stevie Wonder cover. First the 1974 performance from her last show with Sonny (until they reunited on TV a year later).



This version from Cher in 1975 has pretty much the same arrangement but sports a slightly fuller orchestrations and Cher is toning down that ersatz southern accent she sings with.



I'm guessing there was about a 6 month period between these performances. Girl had pipes! Cher grew considerably as an artist in the first couple of years away from Sonny and actually recorded at least one fine album, Stars, which has never been released on CD.

This cover of a Velvet Underground tune is from Stars, her first album for Geffen in 1975. The first time I heard it I hated it, despised the entire album in fact, but it grew on me and became one of my favorites, at least for the time.



Of course, the song is a bit absurd, the idea of Cher sitting on cornerstones, "counting time in quarter tones" is a bit of a stretch.

Captain Kangaroo & Star Trek?


TRYING OUT A NEW BLOG FORMAT

You can still access the TVparty! Blog Archives here. I'll be posting some of the best of that blog, started back in 2006.

That same year this book was released, one that I think animation and comic book fans might be interested in... 'Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodle Book.' It's a bit different than any other book you've ever seen before, a collection of correspondence and sketches from the master artist Alex Toth's last 25 years.


The original props and costumes from the original Captain Kangaroo show are being auctioned off. Mr. Green Jean's overalls, the Dancing Bear costume, Bunny Rabbit... now is your chance to own a bit of TV history. Sadly, there are almost no existing copies of the entire CBS run of Captain Kangaroo.

So far 'Star Trek Into Darkness' has taken in $84 million, probably would have been higher if they waited a week and gave Iron Man 3 a chance to wind down at the box office. Look at this perfect Wally Wood lighting effect from the film. I'll wait until the crowds peter out before going - I still haven't seen a 3-D movie, after a lifetime of being burned by ineffective 3-D techniques I had a hard time buying in again, so I guess this will be the one.